Religions go on giving false meanings to your life. They go on talking of the other life, the beyond: “After death there is paradise for those who are virtuous and there is hell for those who are not virtuous.” And who is virtuous? The person who follows the priest is the virtuous person. The person who does not follow the tradition, the convention, the person who is not a conformist, is bound for hell.
Yes, out of fear and greed you can give a little meaning to life, but it is so arbitrary, so artificial, that there is not a single individual on the earth who is so stupid that sooner or later he will not see the falsity of it.
And now man has come of age; hence religions are disappearing. There is no possibility in the future for Christianity, for Islam, for Hinduism, for Judaism, to exist. And if they want to exist they will have to change their whole outlook, their very foundations.
But there is every possibility for Buddha and his message to prevail. In fact, his day has come. He came twenty-five centuries ahead of his time. Now is the time, the right time for him. He does not talk of fear, he does not talk of greed, he does not talk of hell and heaven, he does not talk even about God. He is so modern, so contemporary; he belongs to our century. Even we are not so contemporary as he is. He destroys all the old structures. He frees religion from all frozen ideologies. He brings many revolutionary changes in the religious outlook.
First he says there is no need to be knowledgeable; one has to be innocent. It is through innocence that the truth is known, not through knowledge.
A neighbor was saying, “Your cat was making an awful noise last night.”
The other replied, “You are right. Ever since she ate the canary, she thinks she can sing.”
You can go on eating the scriptures; you will not be able to sing at all. You can know all the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Gitas, the Korans, the Bibles, but you will remain as stupid as ever. Of course you will start bragging about your knowledgeability. You will start showing it, you will become an exhibitionist. Even when you don’t know anything you will pretend that you know.
Spinster Peabody’s proudest possession was Count, her exquisite cat. Unfortunately, he had been missing for two days. When she opened the freezer door, Miss Peabody nearly died of shock. There was Count frozen solid.
She immediately called the priest, who said there still might be a chance to save the poor animal. “Give it two tablespoons of gasoline,” he told her.
With trembling hands, Miss Peabody opened Count’s mouth and carefully spooned in the priest’s strange prescription.
The seconds ticked away and nothing happened. She was about to give up hope when suddenly the cat opened his eyes, let out an ear-piercing screech and shot across the room at a hundred miles per hour, running over the furniture, the walls, even the ceiling. Count kept this up for two minutes and then suddenly stopped dead in his tracks, not moving a muscle.
Miss Peabody called the priest again.
“What do you think happened?” she asked.
“Simple,” said the priest. “He ran out of gas.”